We want our kids to eat healthy.
There are ways to trick them into it — smoothies for instance are a great way to do that. No one will ever notice a little spinach thrown in with some kiwi and orange juice right? Unless your kid won’t consume anything even remotely green in color. Then you’re screwed. You could always try and get them to believe that carrots are candy or you could use reverse psychology like my dad did on me. Tell them that under no circumstances are they to finish their broccoli. If they do, punishment will be doled out swift and mercilessly. Okay, that one actually worked and I ate that broccoli like it was going out of style but I either wasn’t the brightest bulb or I was defiant to a fault.
So how do we get the green-hating, skeptics who are too smart for their own good to eat their veggies?
Start in the play kitchen. Throwing a little tofu and açaí berries in with the cake slice and crinkle fries may not magically give you health nut kids but it’s a good place to start.
When children play often they are mimicking what they might do in real life as grown ups. So if we give them French fries to fry up in their play kitchens but Lyonnaise Potatoes with a Sun-Dried Tomato purée to eat at the table, I can see how that might get a little confusing. “Mommy, why don’t these potatoes come in a red box with an M on it?”
The point is pretending to eat healthy begets actually eating healthy. Skip the fake fries and cake. Instead stock your kids’ play kitchens with healthier choices.
You can buy them.
CreationByM is an Etsy shop that has got healthy in felt perfected with everything from felt tangerines to edamame to eggplants and, my favorite of the bunch, sushi. This shop also has chicken nuggets and donuts in case you or the kid have a hankering aren’t quite ready to part with the less healthy albeit delicious options in our diet.
Neat Solutions is an online resource for teacher supplies. The great thing about them is that they still give discounts for buying in bulk — in case you do have not one child but 30 you need to provide healthy imaginative options for — but they also sell their items individually. There play food is broken down into meals so kids can see what a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like.
This company prides itself on providing products made with high quality, natural materials. As their website states, they “believe that imaginative, open-ended play with simple toys crafted from beautiful, natural materials offers children warmth and a sense of well-being when discovering their world.” Their play food offers just that. Natural knitted fruits and veggies offer kids a simple way to practice their culinary prowess. More importantly, the knitted produce and wooden duck eggs are beyond adorable.
Another option is to try your hand at felt or a pair of knitting needles and make your own.
There are even options for using model magic (much easier than knitting… or in my case learning how to knit and then knitting) or if you’re more the whittling type there are some awesome scallions over at Duofiberworks.
Stock their kitchens and let the healthy play begin! Hopefully it will make lima bean lovers of them all.